In this article, Conrad looks at five pieces of Monday morning motivation and asks what each of these quotes teaches us.
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says ‘I’m possible’! – Audrey Hepburn
It’s a bit twee, perhaps, but there’s a reason why this gives me some important Monday morning motivation. Sometimes it is important to find the best even in the most difficult of situations – even if you have to really wrestle with it. Turning “impossible” into “I’m possible” is one of the most gloriously stubborn ways in which you can do it. And who better to give us some Monday motivation than Audrey Hepburn? She’s one of a handful of people who has won a Academy, Emmy, Grammy and Tony award – something many who aspire to walk in her footsteps would believe to be impossible.
Not that Hepburn was happy to stop at becoming a major venerated star – she spent later years working for UNICEF in some of the world’s most impoverished regions.
There was never a night or a problem that could defeat sunrise or hope – Bernard Williams
I love this quote. If you’re looking for some of that good old Monday morning motivation then here’s one to remember. Williams was a moral philosopher and Cambridge Professor. Despite – or perhaps because – of holding such a high office, Williams was able to sum up such an essential truth so simply. I’ve said before that sleeping on things is a good thing, at least it is for me. It’s medically proven too that if you do this you can use your subconscious to come up with better solutions to tricky problems.
I think there is a lesson to take from all of this. No matter how grungy we are in the morning, take stock: are we feeling better about things we were pondering over last night? Have we processed any ideas we were ruminating over in the evenings?
When you spot these things happening it helps you be more optimistic about Mondays in general, and the rough mornings that accompany them.
Lose an hour in the morning, and you will spend all day looking for it. — Richard Whately
If I’m honest, I’m not so great at getting an early start (I have odd sleep patterns because of a mild but ongoing tummy thing). But my wife, on the other hand is like a grand wizard at waking in the mornings. She gets a head start on the day, beginning all kinds of amazing projects before getting on with the main grind of the day. If she doesn’t do this, it often seems like she is chasing that missed time.
I notice the benefit as well when I do get up super-early. There are head starts I can make on projects and conceptual approaches I can make that my mind doesn’t have time for once its on the regular-hours treadmill.
So look at this two ways, depending on the type of sleeper you are: 1) It’s worth trying to get up early to take the day by the horns, but 2) if you can’t do this, treasure each day when it happens by accident. This can be just a fluke, or because actually you have barely slept. That last one happens more times than I’d like, and this is one way to look at things more optimistically.
Bear in mind that getting up early could be life changing – if Whately didn’t treasure his morning hours, he wouldn’t have had time to read as much. And if he didn’t do that, this theologian might not have spotted the talent of a certain Jane Austen.
Be willing to be a beginner every single morning – Meister Eckhart
Meister Eckhart is another theologian who makes a good point – although perhaps his career ended in hotter water than Whately. Whately was able to continue working despite later-life afflictions. Eckhart was tried for heresy. Upheld as a popular mystic even today, it’s this more grounded quote, however, that I’d like to discuss.
Consciously becoming a ‘beginner’ over and over – even in things we think we truly understand – allows us to grow. It allows us to find the much-needed novelty in things. If you need a blast of Monday morning motivation, then set some time aside to research something new about what you already do. Approach your tasks with fresh eyes and you will begin to adapt, change and evolve your style.
If you don’t make mistakes, you aren’t really trying – Coleman Hawkins
A crucial gem of Monday Morning motivation for you here. It’s all well and good looking at our Monday morning like it’s all about trying to feel good – but it’s our fear of the almighty cock-up that often gets in our way of being happy. But, really, we should be making mistakes. Mistakes are a part of our personal evolution. We learn from them, we understand what went wrong – which is much better than coasting along for decades on the back of lucky coincidences and people covering up for you. When that happens you tend to fall from a great height.
When you make mistakes you understand – in dissecting those mistakes – exactly how things work. In doing so, perhaps we develop not jut knowledge, but wisdom.